I kinda lost my footing on this effort—literally. Because of a foot surgery, I couldn’t walk my block to pick up trash. It was heartbreaking to observe that the area became a littered mess. So much so that someone even commented about it on a community webpage board. I have learned that I was not having the impact I hoped I would. I hoped that children and adults alike would enjoy the cleanliness so much that they would stop littering. That’s not how people change. They change with direct education. Until and unless there is direct education, there will be no change.
I was pleased yesterday to see a SeeClickFix post in which a person complained about the trash accumulating on the corner of their street. It's so unsightly to me, that I avoid the area as much as possible. The request was that the town clean it up. The fact is that for the past two years, I've been keeping that corner picked up. Then I had a surgery and was unable to continue temporarily. When I recovered from the surgery, the area was so far gone, I made the decision to leave it alone until next Spring. Each Spring, there is a town wide cleanup. After a Spring Clean Up event, the cleanliness of an area is a little easier to maintain. At this point, nearing the end of the summer, I simply was not prepared to clean up months of accumulated trash.
If the town obliges that request and cleans up the area, it won't last. It will be littered again before sunset on the same day. I know this from experience and years of observation. Education is the answer. I think the town ought to invest in a full-blown education campaign about littering, its hazards to the environment, our health, affects on property values, etc. The education should be so pervasive that it would be impossible for anyone that lives or visits the town to not know about it.
LitterAware has participated in a fair or festival or two, and invariably, someone always rashes that 'Parents ought to teach their children,' 'When I was coming up...' Can we please stay in the present? Let's address the needs before us rather than lamenting about what used to be as per our probably warped recollection. As a personal example, I used to think my grandparents' home down south was so much larger and comfortable than it actually was and I knew it wasn't much then. When I saw it as an adult I was stunned. Were we sharecroppers?! I remember as a kid invariably stepping in dog crap around the city in my Boston neighborhood. No one was picking up dog excrement back then. That's an area of progress!
We have a littering problem. I just wish we could roll up our sleeves, get creative and do something about it. The alternative is to complain, point fingers, get high blood pressure and allow the problem to grow.
The Environmental Protection Agency sprang from the Earth Day movement started in April 1970. See the link below and take a photo walk back in time to where we were then.